Effective leadership is a defining characteristic of Communities of Learning | Kāhui Ako that make a difference for students. Leaders have a crucial role to play in the development of a compelling collective vision and priority goals and targets that represent the perspectives and aspirations of the community, especially the students, parents and whānau.
Effective community leaders ensure that resources are used to create the conditions that enable members to work together to pursue the agreed goals. By accessing appropriate professional expertise, both internal and external, they are able to focus inquiry and actions on practices that are most effective in improving provision, pathways and outcomes. They put in place systems, processes and ongoing monitoring and evaluation that make it possible to track progress, determine the impact of actions, and make adjustments in response to challenges encountered.
Providing opportunities for leadership, whether in specific contexts or for specific tasks,11 helps embed collaborative ways of working. Leaders in these positions model effective practice, facilitate learning and leadership in others, support collective investigation of new possibilities, make changes, and sustain improvement.12
By facilitating collaboration, effective leaders build relational trust at every level of the community.13
|Example of effective practice|
> Community leadership focuses on achieving equity and excellence in student outcomes in every participating institution.
> Members have a shared understanding of the roles and responsibilities of those with leadership positions in the community.
> Leadership collaboratively develops and pursues the community’s vision, goals and targets.
> Leadership seeks the perspectives and aspirations of students, parents and whānau, and incorporates them in the community’s vision, goals and targets.
> Leadership knows the groups within the community well and takes responsibility for their development, creating opportunities for collaboration and strengthening the conditions that enable improvement.
> Leadership is flexible and responsive, shared across a range of leaders whose authority is derived from their expertise.
> Leaders have expertise in focused instructional leadership, demonstrating exemplary teaching and learning practice, understanding and sharing appropriate theory and research, and guiding reflection and inquiry.
> Leadership coordinates and supports effective collaboration, building relational trust at every level of the community.
> Leadership ensures that organisational structures, processes and practices support collaboration and professional learning that is focused on improving student outcomes.
> With the support of external expertise as required, leadership identifies and develops the internal expertise necessary for ensuring that improvement goals are met.
> Leadership builds collective capacity to do and use evaluation and inquiry for sustained improvement.
> Leadership monitors and evaluates the impact of actions on practice and student outcomes and makes changes as necessary.
11 Goddard, Y. L., Goddard, R.D., & Tschannen-Moran, M. (2007). A theoretical and empirical investigation of teacher collaboration for school improvement and student achievement in public elementary schools. Teachers College Record, 109 (4), 877–896.